Peace and all Good! Last Sunday, we celebrated the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord. Today we read the evangelist John’s story of Christ’s baptism, told from the perspective of John the Baptist. Both the version of St. Matthew and St. John describe the descent of the Holy Spirit upon Jesus. For John the Baptist, this served as the confirmation of Jesus, the Son of God, as the one who baptizes with the Holy Spirit. John the Baptist is a key figure in the first chapter of John’s Gospel especially because he gives “testimony” about Jesus. But, when Jesus appears on the scene, John’s role diminishes and he fades from the scene since his mission is accomplished. He “has seen and testified” that Jesus is the Son of God, the “Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.” This title Lamb of God is significant for at the end of the Fourth Gospel Jesus is put to death at the very time the Passover lambs are slaughtered at the temple in Jerusalem for the annual remembrance of the Exodus from Egypt. John says that he is glad to have seen. Are we glad to have seen Jesus Christ the Servant of God, the Lamb who fulfills God’s plan of taking away the world’s sin?
Next Sunday has been named by Pope Francis as Word of God Sunday. The Holy Father is encouraging all of us to get to know the Lord better by prayerful reading and study of the Sacred Scriptures. Next Sunday we will bless our parish lectors who proclaim the Word of God to us each Sunday. I also announce a “Soup and Study of St. John’s Gospel” to take place during Lent! Please see today’s bulletin for details of these events. May all of us “linger over and study the Word of God as revealed in Sacred Scripture.”
In closing, this past week, we had a very successful Discernment Gathering for new members to the Pastoral Council. Some twenty parishioners took part in the prayer, discussion and discernment process. Then, the Council and I selected five new members to serve for three years. I am happy to announce those who have been chosen to serve: Anna Hernandez, Tala Paulo, Cody Thompson, Enrique Valdez, and Carmen Vega. We congratulate them and thank all who came to find out more about the ministry of this important leadership body. Love, Fr. Vince